DEC announces temporary closure of 3 shellfishing areas

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner, Basil Seggos, has announced the temporary closure of three shellfishing areas on the north shore of Long Island during the upcoming Labor Day holiday period.

While disclosing this on Monday August 31, 2020, Seggos stated that the closures are imposed during busy holidays to protect public health from potentially contaminated shellfish associated with increased boating activity in shellfishing waters.

Boaters are reminded to use pump-out facilities to help protect these waters.

When boating, DEC encourages New Yorkers to get outside safely, locally, and responsibly during the State’s response to COVID-19, and to avoid busy waters.

“DEC closes shellfishing in these waters annually during the Labor Day holiday due to the heavy increase in recreational activities,” Commissioner Seggos said.

“Responsible boating plays a major role in protecting our local waterways and DEC continues to urge boaters to be aware of the no-discharge zones in New York’s coastal waters and to use pump-out facilities to prevent impacts to our natural resources and protect public health,” he added.

Since 1995, DEC has designated these areas as temporarily uncertified for the harvest of shellfish during the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays.

During peak holiday periods, discharges from marine sanitation devices (toilets) may contaminate nearby shellfish beds with pathogenic bacteria or viruses, rendering the shellfish unsafe for human consumption.

DEC will designate the areas, all on the north shore of Long Island, as closed to the harvest of shellfish beginning at sunrise on Friday, Sept. 4, and continuing through Wednesday, Sept. 9.

“445 acres in a section of Oyster Bay Harbor, town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County.

“50 acres in the area known as the Sand Hole, town of Huntington, Suffolk County

“347 acres in northern Port Jefferson Harbor, town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County,” Seggos said.

Shellfish harvesting is expected to resume in these areas on Thursday, Sept. 10.

If poor weather causes fewer boaters to visit these areas, DEC may rescind the closure and reopen the areas earlier to harvesting.

A recorded message advising the public about temporary closures of any shellfishing areas in New York State is accessible 24 hours a day by calling (631) 444-0480.

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